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How to Best Support Your Trans Child

by Eli

Supporting your trans child through their transition is really important. It can make a whole world of difference in their experiences if they know that you’ve got their backs.

The main piece of advice I can give, is really make sure that you continue to support them the same way you always have. While it is important to understand that there are a lot of changes going on, at the end of the day they are still the same kid they’ve always been. There are lots of aspects that make up their identity aside from them being transgender. Your child doesn’t want to be treated like an outsider. By making sure that you continue to support them the same as you always have, they know that they can trust you with new changes. This can also help them feel more comfortable stepping out of their box and experimenting with gender expression, as they know they won’t be ostracised by their family for it.

It's important to give your child space, sometimes the best thing is to let them work things out by themselves. This doesn’t mean leaving them be though, every child will need a different amount of space. Some will want your help every step of the way, while others will prefer to figure things out themselves and fill you in after. You may have loads of questions, and want some clarification on how they're feeling, however asking them before they are ready to share will put a lot of pressure on them to have answers, when it’s quite likely that they won’t. If you are unsure about how much space to give them, maybe check in and express this to them. By just letting them know that you are ready to be there for them however much they need, and also ready to give them their space, you might be able to figure things out together.

Your child might be feeling out of place as they explore their identity. Reassuring them that what they are going through is normal can give them a lot of comfort. They might also feel awkward about coming to you and asking for help, for example, buying new clothes to help affirm their gender expression. A simple way to help relieve some of that awkwardness, is to let them lead the conversation, be open-minded and to again reassure them that it’s all normal.

Be an advocate for trans support. Stand up for your child when you notice someone is not respecting their name or pronouns. It is really daunting and scary as a trans child when someone doesn’t respect who you are, especially if that disrespect is coming from an adult. By standing up for them when they might be too nervous to do it themselves can really show how much you support them, as your actions to others will show that you are not ashamed of them in any way. Showing your support for the trans community will help show your child that you’ve got their back.